Australia's Sirtex eyed by Bayer for radioactive attraction?

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers

Australia's Sirtex may be on the radar of Bayer as the two companies focus on radiation treatments for liver cancers and see Singapore as a key regional location for clinical and sales efforts in regional oncology.

Germany-based Bayer, according to The Australian newspaper, is weighing a takeover bid for the A$1.6 billion company because of the radioactive treatment it has developed for inoperable liver cancer called SIR-Spheres microspheres.

In 2012, SingHealth's National Cancer Center signed a research pact with ASX-listed Sirtex that began preclinical work on the novel biologic targeted cancer therapy to determine if the method shows efficacy in removing microscopic "tumor islands" left after surgery.

The Australia said the Sirtex product costs about A$40,000 per treatment and that shares in the company have climbed from around A$5 to A$28 over the course of 5 years.

In 2014 in Singapore, Bayer launched Xofigo (Ra 223), making it the first Asian nation to offer the treatment and cementing the wealthy city-state's claims as a cutting-edge cancer treatment hub. A year earlier, the company announced that Singapore was a cornerstone of efforts to push translational research in Asia and around the world.

One key to the timing of a deal, according to The Australian, is a weaker Australian dollar now hovering around $0.80 U.S. compared to at or near par in 2013.

The oncology therapy focus also fits in with wider efforts by Bayer on liver and kidney cancer in Asia and globally through the co-developed and co-marketed drug Nexavar with Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

- here's the story from The Australian (sub. req.)